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How and where should I get my business cards printed?


If any of you, like me, work for a UK-based design business and have been looking for a reliable and cheap business card printing service, here are a few words of advice on how and where you can get your business cards printed online.

There are all sorts of ways to print business cards. You can print them digitally or lithographically, you could have them printed at the same time as your stationery to ensure a perfect colour match (I've worked with some clients who insisted on this). You can produce cards in 1 colour, 2 colour or 4-colour (CMYK). If your client has a specific colour palette, you can add special Pantone colours (these days it's not unusual to find a press that prints 5, 6, 7 or more colours in one run). You can also print the cards thermographically (you know when the text is raised off the paper - gives a nice quality feel. Could be good if you're into some kind of American Psycho-esque business card comparison with your friends!). There are also endless variations in paper and materials - FSC-approved, recycled, high-quality, low-quality or even plastic. Then you can add a laminate - silk, matt, gloss... You get the picture.

The thing is, they're just business cards. Aren't they? They're just an easy way of giving someone your number and email address. Do you really need so many options?

For me, it's not about the card, it's about what's on it - the content and the design. When I get my business cards printed, all I'm looking for is something are two things. Something that looks and feels good quality, and something that's good value.

I've been through enough conversations with clients who are arguing that the colour of their business cards has changed a fraction from the last time they were printed, or "they're not identical to our letterheads", and I'm tired of them. I've literally seen them sitting there with a magnifying glass comparing one with the other. But I'm not putting up with that any more.

These days, if someone wants business cards, I tell them I can print them 500 full colour cards, on a decent, thick stock, with a nice, quality, laminated finish, for £50. I tell them that the laminate will make the colour look slightly different to their letterheads. But I also tell them that the logo on their website will also look slightly different, because it's showing in a combination of red, green and blue, as opposed to cyan, magenta, yellow and black.

And you know what, most of them say, "Fine - I trust your judgement". Of course, there will always be those clients who want an exact match, but they're simply not worth the effort. For them, I tell them I'll happily do the design, but I'm not a printer, so I don't want to argue with them about their colours. Instead, I give them the names of several good colour printers I know, as well as my favourite online printers, and I let them sort it out themselves. That way, I can concentrate on the bit I like, and that I know will make me money. They're happy too because they pay less for their print.

So which companies would I recommend for printing? Well, if you want the personal touch, you can't do better than a family-run company in Tiverton (Devon) called Maslands. I've used companies all over the UK and I can quite honestly say that the service from the team at Maslands simply can't be beaten. These guys are a B2 printer, which means that they're good at medium-sized print runs (anything from 1,000 to, say, 10,000 copies of something).

If you're looking for higher volumes, you'll need a B1 printer. I use a company caller Sterling Solutions in Kettering as well as Taylor Bloxham (more expensive but excellent quality) in the Midlands.

 


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